Ball pythons may look intimidating at first, but they actually are one of the docile creatures that have lured many. They don’t grow long like other breeds of python. Though there are reports of pythons growing about 6 feet, the average python will grow to only up to 5 ft at most. They don’t need much and are quite easy to maintain, but they do have some specific requirements to live healthy and happy.

You will be interested to note that this snake has been morphed to create even more impressive cross-breeds like the Albino Ball Python, the Snow Ball Python, Albino Piebald Two Percent White Ball Python, Leopard Ivory Ball, PythonParadox Leopard Ivory Male Ball Python, and many others.

Enclosures and Heating For Ball Pythons

The most basic of all their needs is a best Ball Python enclosure and the lighting. The enclosure like an aquarium will be their new habitat where they can be kept, spend most of their lives, and be protected. As they are ectothermic, they need a supplemental source of heat to regulate their body heat. They cannot warm themselves from within. That is the reason why you would see them basking in the sun or staying on top of warm surfaces in their original habitat. They need heat and light to properly digest their food, manufacture their own vitamin D, to synthesize the food so they get all the nutrients that they need, including calcium, which is essential in preventing reptile conditions such as metabolic bone disease.

Issues surrounding the use of lights for snakes have been the topic of debate on the recent years. To provide you with a better understanding of how these lighting setups work and allow you to create a better habitat for your pet reptile, we have come up with this guide. Hopefully, you will find this helpful and you’ll get to use some of the tips provided below.

UVB Lights For Ball Pythons

UVB lighting is generally unnecessary for snakes. There are some exceptions though as indicated in this study published in the Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research and carried out by FRANCES M. BAINES, M.A., VetMB, MRCVS. Some are noted to be partial sun baskers like the boa constrictor. Most that are normally kept as pets like the ball python, Burmese pythons, corn snakes will survive with no UVB lighting in their enclosures.

UVB lighting may increase the reptile’s activity and/or coloration. However, ball pythons and most other pet snakes will just be as perfectly healthy as others even without the help of UVB lighting. If you do decide to offer UVB lighting, however, just make sure that the bulb is about 10-12 inches away from your snake. You also need to replace it every six months, even though it may seem that the bulb appears to be working. Note that the UVB is an invisible spectrum of light. It will expire even before the visible spectrum runs out. That being said, the bulbs don’t usually last longer than six months. You will have to refer to the packaging to determine if the manufacturer has indicated that further testing has proved otherwise.

Heat Lights For Ball Pythons

Depending on the temperature where the ball python is kept, you may or may not need heat lights to provide appropriate temperatures inside your pet’s enclosure. Note, however, that ball pythons need a basking spot of about 90 degrees Fahrenheit as well as an ambient temperature in the low 80’s. A thermometer placed on each end of the tank will help you properly monitor the thermal gradient inside the enclosure. There are regular household light bulbs that will provide enough heat to heat a tank (enclosure). You will need some heat lights if the tank is larger, however.

There are other ways so that you can keep your pet warm. Some keepers use under tank heating pads. However, it can be difficult to maintain and monitor proper temperatures with heating pads. Heat lights offer a more natural day/night cycle for the ball python than heating pads. If that is the case, you can have two separate heat lights, one for each 12-hour cycle. Just leave the daylight heat light on during the day, then turn the nocturnal red light on at night. Doing this will provide a natural day/night cycle. This will keep your snake from getting stressed.

Additional reminders to provide appropriate heating and lighting for your pet ball python:

Incandescent heat bulbs that you can use to provide your pet ball python’s enclosure with the proper temperatures are available in a variety of wattages. Smaller tanks will need lower wattage of this light source. You should never place your pet’s enclosure, especially if it’s an aquarium where sunlight could directly heat the glass enclosure. It will just turn the aquarium into an oven. If it’s already reasonably bright during the day, you won’t need to add additional light.

Also, note to secure the heat bulb in a heat lamp with a ceramic or porcelain socket. Do not just use a work light from the garage. Attach the lighting fixture securely and on a metal mesh screen top to keep your snake from escaping and burning itself on the hot lights.

Handling Ball Pythons

Ball pythons are interesting snakes to keep as a pet. Note, however, that they can be carriers of disease-causing germs and microorganisms like Salmonella. If ever ingested or transferred to humans, these bacteria can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Although adults may experience mild symptoms of Salmonella, it can be fatal to infants even to younger children.

That being said, special attention should be provided when handing ball pythons, like any other reptiles or pets. Make sure that you keep its enclosure (including all accessories and the python itself) thoroughly clean. Wash and sanitized everything regularly. You may need to wear gloves when handling your ball python. Wash and sanitize your hands thoroughly after handling your pet. Choose Best Bedding for Ball Python and replace it periodically.